Marion Elementary honors veterans
As veterans walked through Marion Elementary on their way to the gymnasium for a Veterans Day assembly, they were greeted by students cheering and waving their hand-crafted American flags.
Some of the veterans waved, some nodded and some even shed tears.
For the past five years, this type of reception has drawn veterans to the Belle Vernon Area School District site for a celebration of their service to the nation.
“This is our opportunity to show the kids the sacrifices of the veterans,” said Kathy Forte, who handles special programs with the Marion Elementary PTA. “Some of these men and women served during wartime, some peacetime and in other ways.
“It's important that we recognize what (the veterans have) done. ... This is our way of reaching out to them and show them what it means and why we should be thankful.”
Two assemblies took place Thursday. The first was for kindergarten and first grade students.
The guest of honor was Pennsylvania National Guard Staff Sgt. Juan Macias, 49. He is the squad leader in a reconnaissance platoon and a full-time career counselor.
“It's great to see the innocence of the kids and show what soldiers are fighting for,” Macias said. “The kids are great and were eager to share their feelings and their support.
“There's nothing like being a soldier overseas and receiving gifts from kids in the mail. They don't know you, but through the items you receive you see that they support you. Whether it's drawings or letters ... soldiers love getting those items.”
A father of four, Macias told the children the kinds of things soldiers eat and how they have to dress. He even brought along an armored Humvee vehicle.
“It's pretty awesome just to get the reception that I got today,” Macias said. “The kids were really great.”
A second assembly for grades two through six featured the Mid-Mon Valley Shipmates, who discussed the history of the American flag and the Flag Code.
A number of veterans attended.
“I think it all started with Mr. (Stephen) Russell,” Forte said of the former BVA teacher, principal and superintendent. “He really instilled these values in us when I was a student of his. Everyone has someone in their family or knows someone that is a veteran.”
Principal Dr. Michele Dowell presented awards to winners of Veterans Day-themed poetry and poster contests. A Veterans Garden was dedicated.
“It has really been overwhelming, the things we hear from the veterans that attend the program,” Forte said. “We had one parent that said, ‘no one ever told my dad thank you until today.' He had tears in his eyes when he was able to participate in the events.
“We believe that we're one community and that we have to do things for one another. That's why we started the Veterans Garden.
“Community groups have gotten involved and veterans have asked us how they can help. It's just our way of showing thanks.”
Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2667.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New EMV debit/credit cards arriving in Mon Valley
- Carroll hires full-time police officer
- Most serious charge dropped in Monongahela man’s drug case involving girl, 14
- Perryopolis cops, Frazier officials probe alleged student gun threat
- Army officer, Charleroi native to serve as Veterans Day parade grand marshal
- Long Branch blaze under investigation
- Charleroi teachers raise funds to feed hungry schoolchildren
- From Los Angeles to Belle Vernon, Mills traded music biz to teach
- Monongahela Area Historical Society gears up for annual Ghostwalk
- Artistic ‘Vision’ pays off for Charleroi grad
- Charleroi contractor charged for bad business